China claimed it was simulating "sealing off" Taiwan during its third day of military exercises, during which it appeared to launch jets towards Taiwan from an aircraft carrier.
Taiwan reported detecting warplanes to its east, while China claimed its Shandong aircraft carrier participated. Beijing initiated the drills on Saturday, following Taiwan President Tsai Ing-meetingwen's with the US House Speaker in California. To date, however, the exercises have not been as extensive as those that followed Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August of last year.
Taiwan views itself as a sovereign nation. China views Taiwan as a breakaway province that will be brought back under Beijing's authority - by force if necessary. Taiwan reported another 70 warplanes and 11 ships in its adjacent waters on Monday.
A map of flight paths released by Taiwan's defense ministry depicted four J-15 fighter aircraft to the island's east, indicating that for the first time the Chinese military is attacking from the west, where China's mainland is located, the attack comes from the east.
Analysts believe the jets originated from one of China's two aircraft carriers, the Shandong, which is presently stationed in the western Pacific Ocean, approximately 320 kilometers (200 miles) from Taiwan. Analysts believe the jets originated from one of China's two aircraft carriers, the Shandong, which is presently stationed in the western Pacific Ocean, approximately 320 kilometers (200 miles) from Taiwan. The Japanese Ministry of Defense announced on Monday that the Shandong conducted air operations in the preceding days.
On the aircraft carrier, fighter jets and helicopters took off and landed 120 times between Friday and Sunday, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. Also on Monday, the United States sent the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius through a portion of the South China Sea approximately 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) south of Taiwan.
China claimed that the ship had "illegally entered" its territorial waters, while the United States maintained that the operation was in accordance with international law. Following President Tsai's meeting with Kevin McCarthy, the third-highest ranking US government official, Washington repeatedly urged Beijing to exercise restraint.
In the meantime, Beijing had warned the United States and Taiwan of "firm countermeasures" if Ms. Tsai met Mr. McCarthy. China announced the military exercises after foreign dignitaries, including French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, had departed the country. In remarks that have drawn criticism, Mr. Macron urged Europe not to become embroiled in a conflict between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan.
On his flight out of China, he warned sources that Europe ran the risk of becoming "entangled in crises that are not ours," which would make it more difficult to achieve "strategic autonomy."
The Chinese military exercises began on Saturday. China fired ballistic missiles into the waters encircling Taiwan during four days of unprecedented military exercises that followed Ms. Pelosi's high-profile visit to Taiwan as speaker of the United States House of Representatives last August. Since 1949, when the Chinese Civil War turned in favor of the Chinese Communist Party and the country's previous governing government fled to Taiwan, Taiwan's status has been unclear.